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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wednesday Memory Grove Park Running in SLC

Wednesday in SLC, Utah-  Wednesday was a day of jet lag and being off on my own to explore the city.  Because my trip was moved around with the weather, I landed in SLC right in the middle of Thatcher's work week. 

 He left for work around 8:30am and I had until 6pm to entertain myself.  I decided today was a good day to get a long run in.   When my running mojo gets down, running in a new location always helps.  I was originally planning on a long run around 8 miles and had mapped it out on a route tracker.  However, with the change in schedule, I was missing my half marathon that weekend and wanted to stick to my marathon training schedule.  So I decided to run my 8 mile loop with some extra add ons here and there to make it a 13 miler. 

The weather was questionable for the day.  Rain/snow on the forecast but pretty uncertain on when.  By 11:30 I was bored and sick of waiting for the rain/snow to pass.  I decided to make some lunch, stretch, and head out for my run anyway.  

Lunch was a grilled cheese sandwich with peas and cauliflower.  I had limited supplies in Thatcher's fridge.  I strapped on my camel back with half water half gatorade, buckled up my running fanny back (so stylish), and headed out into the city with google maps and my Iphone as my guide.  And of course Garmin. 

 I had planned on running in Memory Grove Park (voted best urban run)  - the city runner's oasis.  A gorgeous run into the canyons right at the edge of the city.    Read this little tid bit on Running in Salt Lake City- Utah is the "trail running capital of the world" and this article mentions the wonderful Memory Grove Park  (I love reading the Rave Run page in RW Mags!)

Highlights from the RW Article :   
'Every time I go to Salt Lake City, I think this: If I couldn't live in Portland, Oregon, this is where I'd go. Here you get wide streets (really wide--132 feet, enough room to do a 180 with a team of oxen) that escort the eye to the snowcapped Wasatch Mountains, which seem to rocket up right out of the suburbs; Sam Weller's, one of the country's largest used-book shops; a half-dozen world-class, dry-powder ski resorts 40 minutes from downtown; and a pair of boffo brew pubs (Red Rock and Squatters) barely a block apart.

Plus enough running routes to keep your legs lively and your senses well-fed, both in town and all over the foothills that surround the city. "My first summer here I made a point not to run the same trail twice," says Travis Hildebrand, manager of the Salt Lake City Running Company. "And that was no problem at all." If the active outdoor life is a priority, what more could you want from a place?
From almost any downtown hotel, you're no more than a half-dozen blocks from Memory Grove/City Creek Canyon (see "Best Urban Run Bar None" ), and within a mile of Liberty Park (see "Other City Choice Cuts"). 

"Right behind the stunning state capitol, you can begin a run through Memory Grove/City Creek Canyon, one of the best city-to-nature running segues anywhere. A half-mile and 200 vertical feet after entering Memory Grove (a pleasant little piece of urban greenery), you'll pass through the City Creek Canyon gate, where you can run northeast on a smooth asphalt road, or drop down to a parallel, no-bikes-allowed, shady creekside singletrack. From the gate, it's all uphill--3.2 miles (and 700 more vertical feet) to the water-treatment plant, and another 2.8 miles (and another 700 vertical) to Rotary Park. Ah, but coming back down . . . .
"Run the whole Grove-to-Rotary route, and you can put in nearly 14 miles with more than 1,600 feet of elevation gain/loss," says Salt Lake City Track Club President Bert Ley of this immensely popular run. "Lots of us locals use the Canyon to 'tune-up' our downhill techniques for the St. George Marathon." 

About 5 minute into my run, it started blizzarding (no its not a word but it should be).  I mean-- the snow was coming down hard.  But I had already mentally prepared myself for this run so I was not going to let some (or a lot) or snow stop me.   I ran the 1.5 miles to Memory Grove Park (sneakers already soaked) where I could get "out" of the city and run up into the canyons.  Key word UP. 

Good thing the scenery was gorgeous because miles 1 to 4 were nothing but straight incline up a windying road into the canyons.   I am used to rolling hills, but I am not used to a steady constant incline fo' miles.

  So at this point I was jet lagged, with foregin elevation and lets not forget the altitude.   I was winded just walking up the stairs in Thatcher's apartment complex (I shall blame the altitude).  I decided to take this trifecta into consideration, run nice and slow, and take plenty of walk breaks when needed.  And boy were they needed. 

I was feeling pretty tired and beat down when older gentlemen approached me to chat- I noticed he was wearing a Boston marathon jacket. I asked about Boston and we started talking .... He told me the marathon this year will be his 37th Boston marathon. 

Over 130 marathons total- Talk about inspiration! 
What a privilege to meet such an amazing runner and Boston Marathoner! 

Read his story here!

After I left the park, I ran through the city and the "avenues"  where I ran by the children's hospital and saw this beautiful heart covered in snow.  Another smile and pick me up on this touch and go run.  

Finally, what went up must go back down.  I had an amazing view looking down at the foggy city.   And yes Jill you were right, the downhill was pretty tough.   At this point I was about 9-10 miles in and my hips and knees were aching.  Something that NEVER happens during a run.  Then I realized a lot of my run had been on cement sidewalks-- a surface my body is not used to running on.  Note to self*  more advil when I get home. 

I was quite happy to get back downtown and back to Thatcher's apartment.  I took two advil, hopped in an ice bath (another first) and took a quick shower before finishing some stretching and couch sitting.  

The plan for the afternoon was to head to Ikea and do a late dinner.  I knew my stomach wasn't into the idea of "late dinner" so I went out and get some supplies for a wine and cheese plate. 

Long story short we spent WAY too much time in Ikea, got a lot of great stuff for the apartment (coffee tables, night stands, shelves, etc) and grabbed a pizza on the way home.   The ice bath must have helped because I felt great walking around IKEA and walking around the city the next day.  

Another good day in Salt Lake City and a tough long run for the books!


  1. Nice work! 13 miles in wet shoes is no fun! I discovered this on Saturday as well. Not that it's a lesson that really needs to be learned first hand...

  2. yeah not fun! I was frozen when I got home- congrats on another half!


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